Expansion of The Teaching Kitchen: Providing Healthy Food to Low-Income New Yorkers
Building Healthy Communities
March 23, 2018
Roughly 50 million of New York City-funded meals and snacks are served by nonprofit institutions, including senior centers, homeless shelters, early childhood programs, and after-school programs.
Many of their clients are among the poorest and most vulnerable and are at risk for chronic diseases and other diet-related illness. Although the City has taken steps to improve institutional menus, there is still a great need to increase access to and consumption of fresh, healthy, local food in low-income communities. In 2015, the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House launched The Teaching Kitchen, a farm-to-institution training program that helps nonprofit food service program workers implement steps to increase their clients’ consumption of healthy, local food without raising costs. In 2018, NYSHealth awarded Lenox Hill Neighborhood House a grant to scale up The Teaching Kitchen program.
Under this grant, The Teaching Kitchen provided a year of no-cost training and technical assistance to 50 nonprofit organizations, organized cohorts from the same community to increase purchasing power, and expanded the geographic scope of the program to organizations beyond New York City. Lenox Hill Neighborhood House estimated that these organizations combined will serve up to 5 million meals each year. By grouping the organizations into geographic cohorts, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House helped them to achieve critical mass for greater procurement advantages and local information sharing—enabling them to more easily connect with vendors that supply local produce and other products. Lenox Hill Neighborhood House also expanded the geographic scope of the program, offering priority training spots to Building Healthy Communities partners in Clinton County, Syracuse, and Niagara Falls. Lenox Hill Neighborhood House evaluated the success of the program, using data to make the business case for this model and secure permanent funding so that The Teaching Kitchen can continue to be offered for free.
See The Teaching Kitchen’s cookbook with recipes to help nonprofit food programs transition to a farm-to-institution model and serve more fresh, healthy, local food.